Friday, January 08, 2016

The brand new MICEpoint webiste is coming soon

Sign up now for our brand new MICEpoint website, the home of the worldwide meetings industry.
Simply go to
See you soon!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Inside The World’s 10 Oldest Restaurants

Not all restaurants come and go. Some of the world’s oldest date back centuries—and are still going strong, proud of their vintage, colorful, history-filled status.
In the culinary world, the birth of a world-renowned restaurant can often be followed by relatively short lifespan. El Bulli, for instance, previously named the best restaurant in the world, shuttered its doors after only a few decades. And studies show that—today—ninety percent of restaurants that make it past the five year mark will only operate for a minimum of ten years total, making a 1,200-year-old restaurant seem downright impossible. Still, a handful of centuries-old establishments have survived and housed some pretty phenomenal history.
From an Austrian restaurant founded by monks at the end of the Dark Ages to a tavern that saw the early constructs of the United States government, the Daily Beast has rounded up the 10 oldest restaurants currently operating throughout the world.
1. Stiftskeller St. Peter. Salzburg, Austria. Est. 803
Surprisingly, the world’s oldest restaurant—Stiftskeller—is still housed amongst its original structure in St. Peter’s Abbey. The Austria-based restaurant was first noted by the scholar and monk Albuin, who was a devout follower of Charlemagne.
While the structure has been renovated and expanded numerous times, some of the numerous dining rooms, often decorated in grand baroque style and vintage chandeliers, are still carved into the stone cliffs adjacent to the Abbey’s original structure and has served royals, dignitaries and celebrities, for centuries.
Most recently, Karl Lagerfeld hosted a grand fête celebrating the premier of his film Reincarnation.  In addition to the historic landscape, Stiftskeller is also famed for its weekly Mozart-themed dinners in which performers in period costume replay Salzburg’s most famous musician.
2. Bianyifang. Beijing, China. Est. 1416
long zheng / Alamy
While Bianyifang no longer operates from its establishing structure—a small workshop which produced duck and chicken food—it still holds its title as the oldest Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing, carrying on the tradition that started during the Ming Dynasty.
3. Zum Franziskaner. Stockholm, Sweden. Est. 1421
Founded by German monks in present-day Old Town Stockholm, Zum Franziskaner has become a legend amongst locals and tourists. While not in its original structure (it has been rebuilt numerous times), the current building dates back to 1906 and still boasts the same brew from the day it opened in 1421. Throughout the years it has also served as a sailor tavern and a high-end restaurant.
“Popular dishes include suckling pig, roast lamb and baby eels, often cooked within the restaurant’s original wood-fired oven.”
4. Honke Owariya. Kyoto, Japan. Est. 1465
What started as a confectionary is now the oldest know restaurant in Japan. Still renowned for their desserts, Honke Owariya has been serving monks, shoguns and emperors its more famous soba dishes for hundreds of years. For those unfamiliar, soba is buckwheat noodle dish—and they proved much more popular amongst the public.
Today, the Imperial family can be found dining at Honke Owariya upon their return from Tokyo. But don’t let that intimidate your visit—locals love the outpost set within a quiet, quintessentially Kyot, street just south of the Imperial palace. Its beautifully aged wooden exterior houses traditional floor seating and beautiful gardens typical of the area.
5. La Tour d’Argent. Paris, France. Est. 1582
Michel Setboun/Corbis
Be prepared to dine like Parisian royalty when visiting the Michelin rated La Tour d’Argent, which claims to have once been frequented by King Henri IV. Impeccable views of Notre Dame Cathedral can be enjoyed alongside some quintessential French fare—roasted ducklings (which are raised on their private farm and come with a numbered certificate), pâté, and poisson (fish). The restaurant even inspired the 2007 film Ratatouille.
The wine cellar—one of the best in the world—survived World War II and is guarded around the clock. It houses more than 450,000 bottles of 15,000 elixirs within its collection valued at 25 million euros in 2009.
6.  Zur letzten Instanz. Berlin, Germany. Est. 1621
Julie g Woodhouse / Alamy
Mention of this East Berlin eatery has been documented as far back as 1561, but it wasn’t developed into a tavern until 1621. Having served everyone from Napoleon and Beethoven to Angela Merkel and international dignitaries in the years since,Zur Letzten Instanz has definitely endured a lot of history.
The building is a block from the historic Berlin Wall, which divided the city’s communist-controlled East and free West and is one of the few remaining houses that adjoined the old town wall, now a crumbling medieval structure. The building had to be rebuilt in 1963 after extensive damage from the Second World War was finally deemed irreparable.
Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd / Alamy
Known as the oldest operating tavern in the United States, Newport’s White Horse Tavern holds all the typical New England charm and history while serving delectable dishes from its current culinary team.
Founded in 1673, it soon became a meeting place for the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council and became billed as the “birthplace of the Businessman’s lunch” when public officials would often charge their meals to the city treasury.
One of its first owners, William Mayes, Jr., was a well-known pirate, which embarrassed the British troops who had taken over Colonial Newport amid the American Revolution. Mayes’ tom-foolery only gave him brief control over the tavern before his sister took over.
For a brief period in the late 19th century, White Horse Tavern became a rooming house before receiving a massive restoration in the mid-1900s thanks to donations from the Van Beuren family. It re-opened as a tavern in 1957 under guidance of the Newport Historical Society and has served traditional American fare to locals and tourists ever since.
8. A la Petite Chaise. Paris, France. Est. 1680
Guarded by its original iron gate, A la Petite Chaise is the second Parisian eatery on our list of historical dining spots and serves textbook-perfect examples of French classics.
Since its establishment in the late seventeenth century by Georges Rameau, a wine merchant, it has been a central meeting spot for political, social and artistic circles, hosting impromptu cabaret acts, heated political discussions—sometimes ending in arrest, and literary readings by prominent writers such as Colette.
9. Botín. Madrid, Spain. Est. 1725
Travel Pictures / Alamy
Technically Botín is the oldest operating restaurant, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, but it actually sits towards the end of our list.
Its official status as the grandpa of eateries could be due to its extensive literary documentation—everyone from Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises) to Frederick Forsyth (Icon and the Cobra) and James Michener (Iberia) have made mention of the Castilian-style restaurant and its rich history.
Popular dishes include suckling pig, roast lamb and baby eels, often cooked within the restaurant’s original wood-fired oven. According to some rumors, Goya was once on staff before his fame as a Spanish painter.
10. Fraunces Tavern. New York, NY. 1762
Richard Drew/AP
In terms of American history, New York City’s Fraunces Tavern has played a pretty prominent role in shaping the future landscape of the United States. 
First named the Queen’s Head by Samuel Fraunces, who purchased the former mansion from New York City Mayor Stephanus van Cortlandt’s son-in-law, the Georgian-style building was an early meeting place for the Sons of Liberty—a secret society who fought to protect the rights of colonists.
By the time the American Revolution had fully reared its head, General George Washington had taken residency in the building, making it his formal headquarters and eventually using the facility to negotiate peace with the British as well as form the early constructs of the United States’ government.
Today, Fraunces Tavern operates as a whiskey bar and restaurant, serving traditional American fare from Manhattan’s South Street Seaport.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The worlds' most remote hideaway

Do you need a quiet weekend? Do you want to run away from everything?

Check out this -more than- remote Hotel:
"The Hotel Arctic, the world’s most northerly 4 star hotel with a 5 star conference centre. Right on the edge of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord - a wonder of the world which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and well within reach for everyone who wants the experience of a lifetime."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Top 10 of unusal Hotels (according to

Interesting list of 10 really special Hotels.

10. Ariau Amazon Towers (Manaus, Brasilien)
9. Hotel Jumbo Stay Hostel (Stockholm, Schweden)
8. Hotel Igloo Village (Kakslauttanen, Finnland)
7.Hotel Luna Salada (Uyuni,Bolivien)
6. Hotel The Queen Mary (Kalifornien, USA)
5. Hotel Crowne Plaza (Indianapolis, USA)
4.Hotel Malmaison Oxford (Oxford, Großbritannien)
3. Martin’s Patershof (Mechelen, Belgien)
2. Hotel Cappadocia Cave Suites (Göreme, Türkei)
1. Hotel Quinta Real Zacatecas (Mexiko)

The article is in German but your browser will translate it into English :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Event App Research

63% of planners are currently using mobile apps at events.

Meeting Planners International (MPI) and DoubleDutch teamed up to conduct a study on the adoption of mobile technology at events.

The full report covers the data included in a survey of event professionals, answers questions around why some planners don't adopt mobile, and exposes the value that users and non-users alike can gain from deeper use of event apps.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wearable/Ultra-portable Computers for Events

This article comes from my friend Corbin Ball.

A new category of computers, wearable computers, are miniature electronic devices that are worn under, with or on top of clothing. …and they may be coming to an event near you!
Technology has developed in ten-year cycles: 1960s: mainframe computing, 1970s: mini-computing, 1980s: personal computing, 1990s: desktop internet computing, 2000s: mobile internet computing. This decade may turn out to be the decade of wearable/everywhere computing. Computers are popping up in our cars, our home appliances, and soon on our bodies. Most of us are already carrying around powerful computers in our pockets (smart phones), but this is just the first step.

Google Glass, smart watches, NFC rings, smart bracelets, and smart clothing are just some of the options becoming available. This will impact events and tradeshows in the next few years as attendees literally embody these devices to assist them at events.
Consider the possibilities as these technologies evolve:
Google Glass is a wearable computer with and optical head-mounted display. Light (about 1/10 of a pound) and sleek, it is worn like glasses and will become available to the public this coming year. The extremely small display, through very clever optics, appears like a 20 inch screen floating about 6 feet away. Sound is provided through bone conduction, so no ear phones are needed.  It is essentially a voice and touch activated multi-media computer, GPS system, still camera, video camera, and like much more as developers continue to evolve it.
Here are some of the future possibilities for GoogleGlass for events:
  • Step-by-step navigation throughout a meeting venue or an exhibit hall with visual and/or audio directions.
  • Real-time video conferencing.
  • Note taking (video with sound and still picture recording on voice or touch demand).
  • Displaying speaker presentation notes and slides.
  • Networking facilitation through taking a picture of who you meet or face recognition reminders the next time you meet them.
  • Gaming applications
  • Mini-teleprompters for speakers
  • Sight inspection facilitation to easily record meeting spaces
  • Social media interaction using video, geo-location and networking apps
For those that my think wearing a computer on your face is too geeky, no matter how sleek it may be, smart watches and bracelets also hold promise. Today, most smart watches are smart phone interfaces, and most smart bracelets/bands such as Jawbone or Fitbit are activity trackers. However, as computer processors continue to get smaller, cheaper and more powerful, these devices have the potential to have a big impact on events.
Some future options include:
  • Instant business contact exchange (just tap your watches, band or NFC ring together)
  • Continuing education tracking (just tap your watch, band or ring to a tag outside the room).
  • Information collection at exhibit booths.
  • Couse notes distribution
  • Navigational assistance (indoor GPS on your watch)
  • Networking (your watch or band will light up or vibrate when people of like interest come into range)
  • Appointment reminder notices
  • Photos, video and still of event activities and education
  • Note taking
Although still in its infancy, the rapid rate of development holds the promise to make wearable computers indispensable personal assistants in multiple was as people navigate and make the most of attending events.

Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity He can be contacted at his extensive web site: Corbin Ball Associates – Meetings Technology Headquarters and followed at

Sunday, March 09, 2014

How to Boost Traffic at Your Trade Show Booth

Want to stand out? Plan ahead and skip the tchotchkes and gimmicks.

Clowns, costumes, caricaturists: they're staples of nearly every trade show, attempting to bring an audience to an otherwise lackluster booth. And don't forget the beguiling ladies, handing out fliers with a side of flirtation. Does any of the showiness of the showroom floor actually work to draw in attendees that become reliable leads?

"Don't get me started on booth babes," said Susan Friedmann, an industry consultant who goes by "The Tradeshow Coach." "People really have had to get more serious about exhibiting. When you're investing often several hundred thousand dollars going to a trade show, you have to get a return on your investment."

Whether your desired outcome is to fill a spreadsheet with sales leads, generate buzz for a new product, or just increase brand awareness, relying on random booth traffic isn't usually the wisest strategy, experts tell Inc. Plan early for not just creating an inventive and effective booth, but also for getting the right people to seek you out.

"A lot of show marketers leave it to the show organizer to drive traffic on the show floor," said Ruth P. Stevens, a consultant on business-to-business marketing and president of eMarketing Strategy. "You cannot cede responsibility to the show organizer to get all the traffic you want to get – you need to take aggressive action."

Drawing Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth: Plan Ahead

Trade show consultants and experts cite a statistic illustrative of the risk of leaving convention or show traffic to chance: Roughly 70 percent of show attendees plan a list of whom they're going to visit before ever entering the convention center doors. They say that number makes plain the power – and necessity – of pre-show outreach.

Stevens advocates taking a two-pronged approach. The first would be to contact your in-house file – that's your regular customers, local contacts, and solid prospects. The other? Registered attendees of the show. "Most organizers, if you are buying a booth, will give you access to this list," Stevens says. "You should conduct some outreach to them - or a segment of attendees that might be interested in you - either through direct mail, e-mail, or even phone."

While e-mailing a contact list is by far the most cost-effective way to spread information about an upcoming trade show or conference appearance, David Brull, the vice president of marketing and membership for the Trade Show Exhibitors Association, says snail mail not only still works, but might be the best means of communicating an upcoming event. "A postcard is pretty much the most effective – and odd sized is even better so that it doesn't just blend in and end up in the trash. I know one person that shaped theirs like a fish once, and that really brought people in."

While you're at it, make a substantial effort to contact and make appointments with your local clients, suppliers, or anyone you do business with in the geographic area of your show. It's a simple way to get face-time with folks you might not otherwise be able to sit down with – and a way to make sure you or your employees aren't wasting time standing around in an empty booth.

Drawing Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth: Offer an Incentive, But Be Selective

Getting a piece of mail into a potential client's hand isn't enough, though, Stevens says. They'll also need a solid reason to show up. If you have a new product launching – especially if there's at least an aspect of it that will be completely fresh to consumers – promote that.

"Or, if you don't have something new, you might want to make a special offer," Stevens says. "It might be a price promotion, or a show discount, or you might want to give them a special gift for coming by."

But, there's a big difference in having special gifts for the people you've contacted before the show and doing a random promotion to draw foot traffic into your booth, Friedmann says. "You have to give your target audience a reason to come and see you, based on your goals and objective," she says. "I'm not an advocate of just giving away an iPad or a camcorder, because you're not attracting someone in your target audience."

That's because the old put-your-business-card-in-a-fishbowl-and-win-a-prize ruse to generate leads has proven itself stale.

"Putting a bowl out and asking people to drop in a business card is a waste of energy," Stevens says. "The real way to generate good leads is to have a conversation and kick off a business relationship. You can rent cold names for 15 cents each, so why would you spend hundreds at a trade show to get cold names?"

And the value of pricey giveaways can be lost if your company doesn't get quality warm leads out of the very thing that's supposed to draw people to your booth.

"You have to know your attendees," Stevens says. "If there are going to be a lot of unqualified people, like students or spouses, know that. If it's going to be prowled by a lot of tchotchke grabbers, you might want to keep the gift under the table."

There are other ways to bond with your target audience at a trade show. Friedmann suggests hosting events away from the trade show floor, in more private conference rooms. Reserve space ahead of time, she suggests, and use it for special product demos that you might not want your competition to be privy to – but that you do want your best customers to see.

Another option is to speak on a panel. Talk early on with the conference or trade show's organizers about possible topics that you and your company are experts in – or even a niche of a current industry trend. Being in the middle of the debate or on the edge of innovation, explaining it as you go, is a great place to be. The bonus: You'll be sure to attract those most interested in your work. Offer them additional conversation, a free book, or something else useful, if they'll stop by your booth later.

Be sure to let your clients – and future customers – know where you are speaking and what special events your company is participating in over social media. Increasingly, conferences create their own Twitter hash-tag, so participants can communicate with one another from the showroom floor.

"Individual show exhibitors are using twitter too – saying, hey, I just sold my first widget, or I just attended a great talk," Stephens says. "A lot of them are gaining more attention for their booth by just tweeting around."

Drawing Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth: Be Aggressive, Not Abrasive

If you're debuting a product, and actually want a lot of general buzz and interest in your product and brand, the golden rule is: "If you have a product people can play with, make sure you can bring it," Brull says. "The whole point of face-to-face marketing is so people can touch and feel things."

For small companies with small booths, just remember that for every 10' by 10' booth you have, you have approximately four seconds to engage someone that's walking by. And distractions are aplenty: "The trade show environment is easy to get overwhelmed, it's easy to go into this zombified state and it's so easy to not be able to take anything in," Friedmann says.

Brull suggests to draw in people, create a clean, warm environment they can step into. "In some way, it's your retail store. You need to think of it as your home for a few days, and inviting people into your space should be pleasant," he says.

Having the right people in your booth can also make or break the quick impression your company makes on passers by. For the weekend, remember, the employees in your booth are your ambassadors. While Friedmann says they should never hawk to people from the aisles, they shouldn't be hidden behind a table. They should ask engaging questions off the bat to find out in a non-intrusive way whether the person stopping by is a potential customer or business partner – or just might be curious about your brand.

David Maskin makes a living drawing people into trade show booths. He creates personalized nameplates by bending aluminum wire as giveaways from the company who takes him on to sit in their booth. While Maskin – who goes by "The WireMan" – markets himself as a traffic magnet, he tries to go beyond collecting business cards and creating cold leads.

"The way I like to do things is to go beyond just drawing people into a booth. The big word free is one way to get people to come in. Others will come in just to see what I'm doing," Maskin says. "And when one person comes in, their colleagues come and stand around, which gives the booth staff time to come and mingle with the crowd."

Stevens says: "To me the most important thing to keep in mind is quality. It's really easy to waste a lot of money on a show – it's an expensive environment on a cost-per-contact basis. You want to make sure you're attracting and talking to people who are really likely to be buyers or influencers in your world."

Drawing Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth: Look Sharp

It's not just the shiny things inside your booth that can be a draw for attendees. The booth itself can attract visitors.

Aside from the open, warm, retail-style aesthetic Brull suggests, you'll want to make sure you don't box in too much of your space with tables or displays. "You don't want to block your door with a table," he says.

This year's Exhibitor magazine exhibit design awards hailed mostly booths that created a calm sanctuary in an otherwise chaotic exhibit atmosphere. And doing something that stands out doesn't have to be expensive. Autodesk Inc. won an exhibitor award for creating an 18-foot-high double archway or cardboard tubing that soared above its and custom-made walls and desks. The cost? Thirteen dollars per square foot.

"One of the most effective booths I've ever seen was a 10' by 20' booth with a back wall of boxes or all colors and shapes," Brull says. It was for a box-shipping company. "It was neat, and eye-catching, but it wasn't expensive."

That said, design options can be pretty restricted when you only have a 10' by 10' or 15' booth.

"The most important thing in booth design in a small booth – or any booth really – is the signage," Stevens says. "Assuming you've done your work in pre-show promotions, you want to attract the people who know you."

The way to attract them, Stevens says, is with a "benefit-oriented" sign. It should:

-       Be visible and legible from down an aisle on the showroom floor
-       Have words that give a potential client a good reason to stop.
-       Answer the question for a client: What's in it specifically for me?
-       Not use a lot of jargon, such as "exceptional interface."
-       Include a solution to a business problem.

Don't be afraid to be specific – turning off a segment of the trade show audience who isn't your target is just fine.

"If you're offering specific software for accountants, say so," Stevens says. "You do in fact want to repel unqualified prospects. The real value of show exhibiting is to develop valuable contacts with people you might do business with, and you only have x number of hours to do that."

Read the full article here on Inc.